Introduction - Design, OSD, and Viewing Angles

Our monitor reviews frequently go into a lot of depth about the results before and after calibration, but for many users this won’t matter, as they aren’t going to purchase the calibration hardware and software necessary to achieve these results. Getting accurate performance out of the box without needing to spend extra money on hardware is important to many people but it's often very hard to deliver. With their Pro Art monitors, ASUS aims to deliver just that: sRGB and AdobeRGB modes that are reasonably accurate (a dE < 5.0 out of the box), with a full set of controls for users to calibrate it on their own.

ASUS doesn’t stop there as they also offer a 10-bit panel, integrated card reader and USB ports, and a user calibration mode with more controls than I have seen on a consumer monitor to this point. Does the ASUS deliver good color out of the box, and have the performance for those that wish to calibrate themselves?

The design of the ASUS PA246Q is all business out of the box. With a goal of high performance and not sleek looks, the PA246Q looks like a generic LCD monitor from a couple of years ago. As long as you're after performance rather than style, this shouldn't be a problem (provided the performance is actually there). The left side of the display features a pair of USB ports and a card reader than handles most formats with the exception of Compact Flash. On the bottom of the display you will find DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, and VGA inputs as well as the power supply and downstream USB connection. There are no integrated speakers but there is a headphone jack for audio carried over HDMI or DisplayPort, though it is located somewhat inconveniently at the bottom of the monitor.

The attached stand is pretty sizable but offers a full range of adjustments. Height adjustment is good with a decent range, and the tilt function has a good amount of movement that is always useful when trying to calibrate with a large meter on the screen. With swivel and pivoting as well, the stand is as good as the Dell stands that I prefer, though it certainly takes up a lot of desk space. I certainly don’t feel the need to replace the stand with an aftermarket one, though.

The OSD offers up a lot of options for the end user, but the interface for it is only OK. Under the Splendid section of the menu we find six different picture modes: Standard, sRGB, AdobeRGB, Scenery, Theater, and User. I will ignore Scenery and Theater, as they provide a blown out color palette or intentionally dim image for those that are swayed by such things. sRGB and AdobeRGB are the pre-configured modes that are designed to hit those primary color points and have a dE < 5 straight out of the box. The only control available to users in these modes is brightness to adjust the level of the backlight and everything else is locked. Standard mode is what you find on most monitors, with the standard Brightness, Contrast, Color Temperature and Gamma controls available for adjustments.

The most interesting mode is the User mode, which has the same features as Standard but opens up Hue and Saturation controls, as well as a 6-point CMS with Hue and Saturation controls for each primary and secondary color, and a 2-point grayscale control. This enables you to dial in those color points to be reasonably accurate on the CIE graph, but as there is no individual luminance control for each color, you can only get the color correct in two dimensions and not all three. I will go over these settings more in the calibration section, but they are quite extensive for a computer display.

There are a few more settings to be found in the menu system, but nothing out of the ordinary, and there is no game mode or overdrive for enabling faster response from the display (not that we've really noticed an improvement with such modes on other LCDs). The OSD controls themselves are sufficient but somewhat cumbersome, as we see the common issue of the display having you move up and down to select items, then left and right to adjust those items, with only one set of input keys for both. It would help to have either a second set of arrow keys for adjusting the values, or design the menu so it only moves in one direction to make it more user friendly. It is worlds better than using touch sensitive controls but still not at the level that some other menu systems are at this point.

Using an IPS panel, we expect good viewing angles from the PA246Q and we get them. At the very extreme angles you get some brightness shift but overall the panel looks very good at any angle you might be looking at it from.

Video Inputs DisplayPort, HDMI 1.3, DVI, VGA
Panel Type P-IPS 10-bit
Pixel Pitch 0.270 mm
Colors 1.07 Billion
Brightness 400 nits
Contrast Ratio 50,000:1
Response Time 6ms GTG
Viewable Size 24.1"
Resolution 1920x1200
Viewing Angle 178/178 Horizontal/Vertical
Backlight CCFL
Power Consumption (operation) < 75 Watts
Power Consumption (standby) < 1 Watt
Screen Treatment Anti-Glare
Height-Adjustable Yes
Tilt +20 to -5 degrees
Pivot Yes
Swivel Yes
VESA Wall Mounting Yes, 100mm
Dimensions w/ Base (WxHxD) 558.4 x 380.8 x 235 mm
Weight 7.3kg
Additional Features 2x USB 2.0 Ports, Card Reader (SD, MS, MS Pro, MS Duo, xD, MMC, SM)
Limited Warranty 3 years on case and panel, 1 year on parts and accessories
Accessories DVI Cable, VGA Cable, DisplayPort Cable, Power Cable, USB Cable
Price $469 online (as of 7/02/2012)

Now that we’ve taken an overview of the ASUS PA246Q the question is to see how it performs on the bench, and if I can deliver the out of the box accurate colors it promises.

ASUS PA246Q - Brightness and Contrast Ratios
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  • cheinonen - Monday, July 2, 2012 - link

    The PA246Q had already been requested, and arrived, when the PA248Q was announced. It also an sRGB monitor as opposed to AdobeRGB, so a better comparison for it might be the Dell U2412M, whereas the PQ246Q competes with the Dell U2410. Using such a similar model number is annoying, but really they're complementary products and not competitive ones.
  • Leyawiin - Monday, July 2, 2012 - link

    Yep - its coming to market late this month (and I think I'm going to pop for one at that price).
  • Spoogie - Monday, July 2, 2012 - link

    There are serious quality control issues with this model. On my second one in six weeks. 1) humming noise, 2) flickering, and 3) goes blank randomly for 1-3 seconds. The first one did both one and two, the second one has all three problems.

    I'd return it if I wasn't past the 30-day return window.
  • aranyagag - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    mine was perfect
  • Devo2007 - Monday, July 2, 2012 - link

    It appears you are missing the results for this monitor in the "Calibrated for Print Average Delta E" graph..
  • cheinonen - Monday, July 2, 2012 - link

    Sorry about that, fixed it now, not sure how it got left out.
  • funkforce - Monday, July 2, 2012 - link

    Fantastic review! Even better than many on sites dedicated to TFT-reviews only.

    I hope there are a lot more of these to come and I would really like to see more on:

    What progress has been made in the last years and what are the top monitors in each field/technology today for non-pro users?
    (PVA/MVA/AMVA vs. IPS/eIPS vs. TN technology/best in class.)

    What would be the best non-TN panel for gaming today?

    Does performance differ a lot on the HDMI and DVI-output on the same panel? (In cases where both exists)

    Would it possible to manufacture a LED, 120hz, IPS/VA, 2560x1440, with minimum input lag, near accurate colors and good blacks in the near future?
    Will OLED make this a reality?

    On most comparison sites for shoppers there are a lot of customer reviews that are mentioning problem with backlight bleeding on most IPS panels.
    It would be awesome if you could get an extra retail sample of every monitor you review to see if there's a big difference between to identically named panels.
    (I know a guy that bought two would be identical LG screens from the same store where one was manufactured in China and the other in Poland and they differed a lot).
    Although I understand if it would be an unreasonable wish.

    I just bought a LG IPS236V and it has some backlight bleeding in both the lower left and right corner. It has a gamma setting that goes from 1.8-2.6 where the default 2.2 and above unfortunately only emphasizes the problem. Only the very bright setting of 1.8-2.0 (lower is brighter) result in very little bleeding but blacks are not so dark as one would wish.
    It has several options greyed out, like black level and white balance no matter if you use an HDMI or DVI Cable. Is this normal and do you see it on lot of screens during your reiviews?

    Many thanks in advance!
  • funkforce - Monday, July 2, 2012 - link

    You can disregard my last question about the white balance and black level. Totally missed that page in the manual about it only being available on DSUB and HDMI.
  • rickon66 - Monday, July 2, 2012 - link

    I applaud them for building a computer monitor 16:10 and not a TV set 16:9. Thank You ASUS!

    Any monitor larger than 23" @1080p = FAIL!
  • Olaf van der Spek - Monday, July 2, 2012 - link

    Right. 4:3 @ 1920 x 1440 or 2048 x 1536 would be even better. :p

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